Road Test: ON Running Cloudsurfer


It is true what they say: Once you have embraced running as a sport, you would not be able to resist the temptation to try out many different brands until you find one or two that fit you perfectly. It’s a lot like love when you think about it. Sometimes you go through some bad apples before you get your pick of the prime kind. I have tried a handful of running shoes out there and though I may have already found the answer to my running essentials in a particular brand, my curiosity got piqued when I heard through the grapevine that there is a new kid on the running block about to make an explosive debut in September this year — ON Running.

With CHRIS Sports Marketing Manager Arleen Lindo

Avansa Over-all award at the ISPO Brand New 2010 Awards for Innovation in Sports, ON Running is a product of Swiss technology, although manufactured in China – just like nearly everything out there.

Says our condo guard when I asked him to snap this photo: 'Ms. Vicky ang gaganda po lahat ng mga shoes nyo pero eto po pinakagusto ko.'

Although ON Running is only going to be made available in the local market in September, I was fortunate to have been among the first few runners to test the pair. And because I was so excited to see what the rave was all about (hey, it has the best and the brightest of athletes endorsing the brand), I took my pair on a spin right after my 16k race at the recently-concluded Takbo.ph RUNFEST, and two more short runs after that.

Ladies and gents, meet CLAUDIA the Cloudsurfer.

LOOK and FEEL: Aesthetically speaking, ON Running Cloudsurfer is far from offensively garish. It’s two-color combination (mine’s black and lime green) gives it a classy and easily recognizable look. It is very lightweight at approximately 10oz so you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a block of wood when running. The tongue and ankle padding is very comfortable and I also find the wide forefoot a lot to my liking because it gives my weirdly shaped feet some room for breathing.

You see, my feet are a bit of a freak. My left foot has the bone connecting my toe to the foot itself jutting out like, well, a freak. And because i still insist on wearing pointy heels that push the bone out some more, I need a wide forefoot for my running shoes in order for me to be able to run for a period of time without feeling pain in that area of my foot. I mean, I would love to show you my freakazoid of a foot but I won’t be responsible for the nightmares that would haunt you in your sleep!

But forget about my freak foot obsession and how the Cloudsurfer sorts all that out for me because really, ON Running’s greatest advantage is the innovative ‘Cloud-Tec’ feature which are basically those 13 cutesy rubber lugs on the soles whose main function is to improve shock absorption on landing.

Looking forward to more running time with Claudia

ROAD TEST: I have only tried ON Running on the road for about 20kms including yesterday morning’s 5k run (thank God the sun finally decided to grace us with its elusive presence!), give or take, but I can vouch for the greatly reduced impact on landing. There is definitely the feel of real cushioning but without the weight and loss of propulsion, hence, I was able to do a relatively long run without the usual stress on my body and the expected long recovery period. Since I have been running long distance races often, my lower legs, shins, and calves have suffered quite a lot which makes me quite picky when it comes to the trainers I wear.

The second time I ran outdoors with ON Running, it rained quite a bit so the road was damp and I noticed that the sole grip was not as incredible as it was on dry road.

Walking on sunshine, Running on clouds.

On dry road, the Cloudsurfer is quite something. I felt it even more yesterday morning when I did another 5k around Ortigas. I don’t know about other users and their experience but my gait certainly feels different. There’s also an unmistakable spring in my run. It’s almost as though those rubber thingies at the sole are pushing me forward so that I am covering more distance with each step.

I did, however, notice that my pristine white socks got stained by what I suspect could be the black mesh fabric of the shoes. But then again, that is nearly inconsequential when pitted against ON Running’s stellar qualities. Stain versus improved speed and lesser injuries? That’s not even an argument right there.

Channeling my 'inner Kenyan'

PRICE: ON Running will be available at all CHRIS Sports stores beginning September 2011 and is priced almost similarly as Newton and Zoot, so it may be a bit pricey for those who impose a ceiling on how much money they shell out for a pair of running shoes. But if you are just as particular with benefits and performance, you will find this pair to be worth every peso. I am not yet sure about the shelf life as I have only had it for a few days, neither am I sure about its performance on trails as I have yet to test them there, but I am hoping for the best in these areas too.

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Bookworm Chronicles #1: JAILBIRD


If you remember on my birthday some weeks back, one of the resolutions I made was to read one book per week. I must admit, it was not an altogether original thought because I was, in fact, inspired by this blogger whose chronicles I enjoy reading immensely. I love reading and if you come by the house, you will see only two things piled up in the cramped space of my apartment, which I totally refuse to part with no matter how many times I move houses – books and shoes. Sadly, for the past year or so, I have been negligent in the reading department that I am now feeling the backlash. On most days I just feel so dumb and inadequate and though I am probably just being too hard on myself (again) by saying that…but it’s true. There is much to learn and I am beginning to hate myself for not absorbing as much!

On the day that I resolved to go bookworming again, I started with Sophie’s World because that was the book I brought along when I upped and spent time with my fiance. But once I got back, I found this book by Kurt Vonnegut which I must have had since college because the pages were all yellow and slightly brittle to the touch and I even saw a College classmate’s home number which I wrote on the last page of the book! Surreal, isn’t it? Intrigued, because I don’t really remember reading it over a decade ago, I gingerly opened the book — and I was hooked.

***

I finished Jailbird yesterday while I was having footspa treatment for my marathon-tortured feet.

“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird

I am not sure but I think this may be the first Kurt Vonnegut novel I have ever read and I’m glad I did. It is full of dark, dead pan humor, as apparently only Kurt Vonnegut can write.

Are you all familiar with Charlie Brown from Charles Schulz‘s comic strip Peanuts? Then you would know what a Charlie Brown moment/day is. It is when you set out with all the best intentions, putting your best foot forward and making the best impression, only to have things go an entirely different direction at the last second? Sounds familiar? I’m sure, because we’ve all had our Charlie Brown moments, one way or the other. But the protagonist in Jailbird, Mr. Walter F. Starbuck, is painted as someone who seemed to have lived a Charlie Brown life. Not a moment or a day, but life. After a long intro in which WFS and his consequent plight – a lifetime of underachievement and inadequacy, the death of his wife, his estrangement from his son, being sentenced to prison because of his ‘involvement’ in the Watergate scandal – are slowly revealed, the story now focuses on the two days following his release from prison for his unremarkable (and almost completelely coincidental) role in the biggest scandal of US President Richard Nixon’s time. His rebirth into society becomes a frame for the story of his life and how he came to be in prison, through rambling – and sometimes hysterical – flashbacks. The running theme of his life? Well, let’s just say that it would be something Charlie Brown would sum up best as “Good grief!”

What I like most about this novel, although people say it is among the least ‘humorous’ work Vonnegut has ever penned, is that you get a sense of the author’s humanism and his compassion for mankind and its flaws. I could be wrong on so many levels but the way I read it, Jailbird’s underlying theme is the importance of fundamental kindness. Even when the situation is at its most negative, there still lies a flicker of conviction that compassion and generosity would be enough to set things right.  Though Jailbird is replete with biting cynicism, you would feel that it is never completely disheartening to read because of that glimpse of childlike hope that we really could learn to forgive and be kind to one another.

This definitely won’t be the last Vonnegut novel I would read.

What are you feeding your mind these days?

35th MILO Marathon: Redemption, Oh How Sweet You Taste In My Mouth!


I first joined MILO National Eliminations in 2009 when I debuted in the half-mary category. Unfortunately, I came up real short at that time because of my injured shins. At 2:47, MILO was my worst 21k record ever and if it weren’t for dear friends at Takbo.ph, I probably would have done worse – if not altogether quit the race.

But, it’s all behind me now because last Sunday, at the 35th MILO National Eliminations (Manila Leg), I had my shot at redemption; grabbed a hold; and sort of ran with it all the way through the tape – doing twice the distance as my first Milo appearance.

My second marathon after my debut at the Condura Skyway Marathon in 2009 certainly did not disappoint. Although I was hoping for a sub-4:30 finish, I am still grateful that I crossed the finish line with a sub-5 record; about 6 minutes faster than my Condura time.

'Great things start from small beginnings...'

I liked (my) MILO marathon experience for a lot of reasons.

First – although MILO had nothing to do with it at all – because of the rain. Like I told my Boss just minutes before gun start, I was looking forward to running 42 kilometers in the rain because it reminds me so much of my hooligan days in the province when I would would wait for the steady snoring of my Dad during siesta, escape through the backdoor and run around the plaza with friends. On one or two occasions that I got caught – soaked and mud-covered – I got some mild flogging; vaguely remembered being asked to kneel for a few minutes because I was caught playing by the river which had swelled all the way up to the hanging bridge because of the steady downpour which lasted several days; but that did not exactly deter me from escaping a few more times. Good memories.

Second, water stations aplenty. For someone with serious hydration problems, I totally loved the fact that MILO and the organizers did not scrimp on this one. I found myself making a pitstop at nearly every station not because I was parched but because the water-filled cups lined up like robots in TRON look so inviting I just had to get my hands on them!

Third, the runners. It was just awesome being in the company of runner friends and even those I only get to exchange ‘hi’ and ‘hello’ with on Twitter and Facebook. What’s even more awesome was seeing older people (men and women alike) who would just zoom past me and you can tell by their gait and that they were once among those lording it over in marathon circa 60s, 70s, and 80s even! I remember this lady who’s probably in her 50s who ran along side me somewhere in the Kalayaan flyover just before we hit KM31 or 32 and told me to push harder. I was already taking walk breaks at that time due to my cramped quads and left hamstring. She said ‘jog ka lang iha‘ and when she probably saw there is no way I could keep up with her, she said ‘Una na ako sa’yo ha‘. That moment was so cute I just had to smile!

Fourth, the support teams. Having people call out your name (though most of them I only recognize by face) with some words of encouragement can be very…encouraging.

Fifth, my ‘accidental’ pacers. Alex and Gab, you guys helped me get through the race – thank you! Gab, whom I’ve known for quite a while now – he was among the first runners I made friends with through Takbo and paddled with in Manila bay on maybe three occasions – would pace me on and off during the race. He even gave me a chocolate bar before we hit KM30 which helped me loads in the stored energy department. haha. Alex, my Reebok teammate, was my mainstay pacer. I would lose him a few times during the course because I tried to keep a steady pace at least before the cramps cramped my style, but he would no sooner find me and run/walk my pace. We took several walk breaks which was a pity because we were doing pretty well until we weren’t any more.

Sixth, I also liked the fact that my bag was kept safe at the baggage counter the whole time! At first, I was really apprehensive to leave my bag with money, phone, and camera inside (with no lock whatsoever!) because of the horror stories of some runners losing valuables at the races. Every now and then while I was running, I would worry about my bag so I told Alex that we should head down to the baggage counter soon as we cross the finish line. But my worrying was all for naught because MILO employed the best people to man the booth! Awesome!

Seventh, the speedy release of results! Just like everyone else who ran that day I suppose, I couldn’t wait to see the results – and gush about it.

Lastly, the photographers who took thousands of photos of the runners in various state of wetness and exhaustion. Special mention to KB Runner (who ran the whole course half-naked buti na lang he’s super lean, hihihi), A Runner’s Circle, Jojo Pauly, and Mediabetes Runner for the lovely photos I shamelessly grabbed and posted on my FB Milo album!

***Edited to add this: Needless to say I was (and still am) mighty pleased with my race results. Like I said, I managed to shave around 6 minutes from my first marathon time in 2009. Not only that, I was ranked 497th overall out of 1,053 runners; and 6th out of 9 in my age category. I am 32 years old, so yah, you could say I am quite mature. hihihi.

Having said that, CONGRATULATIONS MILO and RUNRIO for staging one of the best races I have ever joined!

Now let’s take a look at some of my priceless 35th MILO Marathon moments. But first, here’s a look back at my MILO moment in 2009…

Thank you Argo for this photo.:)

I’m such a naturally happy person that even when beset by injuries aplenty, one would rarely catch me in a frown. It doesn’t show in the photo but at that time, my shins were crying bloody murder and would swell up in a freaky way Dinzobear refused to look at it when we had dinner/movie shortly after that 2009 race.

And now, say hello to the two-time sub-5 marathoner. Wooot!

Thank you, ARC!

Now that's a happy runner!

I did it!

Oooops, by the way, I would like to thank Kassy for lending me her Garmin which I totally forgot to set in my haste! We arrived at the starting line just seconds before gunstart and of course, I scampered just like everyone else when the countdown ended. Garmin turned out to be just a fashion accessory, hahaha. But you gotta admit, it made me look even more legit! Thank you Kas for being the wonderful supergirl that you are!

Much love to REEBOK for the support! Bruno was awesome on the flooded roads! I did not get blisters this time around but I went home with two dead toenails which is kind of a normal thing for me when I do long distance runs. Dead toenails = sooo un-girly-girl! hahaha.

My quads are burning!

MILO...MILO everyday!

Thank you Alex for pacing me!

Thank you Kassy for being awesome!

Up next: MIM

Epson X-Fusion Media Adventure: Diving Into Fun


Thank you Epson and Total Fitness!

NOTE: Published in TOTAL FITNESS Magazine July 2011 issue.

***

Question:  SCUBA is an acronym which stands for…?

Answer: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

This question was asked in the trivia game which our team, the Black Team, failed to get cookie points for as I remember the two other team representatives were a lot faster jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side to touch the letter of the correct answer. We played a few more group games after that, in some of which our team would consistently lose, but there was just so much fun and frivolity at X-FUSION, the Epson Media Adventure, that none of these losses even mattered.

X-FUSION, the second of Epson Philippines’ annual event aimed at showcasing the company’s sales and marketing efforts in first half of the fiscal year as well as providing a glimpse of Epson’s activities in the pipeline,  was held last 12 to 13May at Acacia Diving Resort in Mabini, Batangas with over 20 media representatives coming from business, IT, and trade publications joining EPSON Philippines’ General Manager Donna Ferro, Business Systems Group Head Jay Lavarias, and MarComm and PR Department Head Roe Dillera.

Mr. Jay Lavarias summed up Epson Philippines’ 14 percent overall sales growth at the end of fiscal year 2010 versus 2009 in a short slide presentation. He attributed the growth for Inkjets and Laser printers to a bullish market for 2011. More importantly, corporate markets can expect lower total cost of ownership this year with the launch of 13 more new product offerings.

Meanwhile, Roe Dillera provided a sneak preview of the global corporate vision of the company dubbed “SE15 Vision” or Seiko Epson 2015 Vision after sharing some corporate and CSR highlights in 2010.

Black Team.

But for compulsive adventure seekers like me, the biggest highlight of the event was the Intro to Scuba Diving which Epson got all of us to try out. It my first time to do diving and the days building up to ‘Fusion’, I was teetering on the brink of combined excitement and anxiety. You see, I do not know how to swim and even though nearly all my friends assured me that swimming is not really a requirement – especially since we will have dive masters assigned to us – there were still some niggling doubts in my head until I went 25ft below sea level and found myself enthralled by the glorious sight of colorful fish and corals! We even saw a school of mangrove jacks (or talakitok says my angler friend); some clown fish occasionally peeping out of the corals; and for a while there I wished we had more time to explore. Or that I have the time and resources to actually get PADI certified soon. Now that’s a thought.

Media Adventure-seekers.

Before taking the plunge, I was pretty sure I would have panic attack just like I did the last time I went on a travel assignment in Pagbilao, Quezon. But surprisingly, I was very calm even from our descent and all the way through the 15 to 20 minutes diving time – which Vlad, the dive master assigned to me, made sure I made the most out of by swimming happily along and befriending sea creatures, even for a brief moment.  Even breathing through the regulator came fairly easy to me I could have sworn I’m a natural!

Yes Siree, we're 25ft under water!

A few times I heard the ticking sound in my ears and, at one point I had some challenges in neutralizing the pressure I had to signal for Vlad to take me back up to the surface so I can get my bearings right again. When we got down to the spot where we were supposed to take underwater group photos, I got a bit embarrassed when I realized that I was the last one to arrive!

With DM Vlad

While I am not exactly a stranger when it comes to media offsite as I have had my fair share when I used to do PR stuff for another IT company many years ago – this was my first time to come as part of the media group and I must say it is something else altogether. I could get used to this!

X-Fusion Participants

From my slipshod snorkeling experiment in Pagbilao last year, I went ten notches up (or down?) with scuba diving and taking into account the fact that I still dream about the sights and wonders I came across with while underwater, I think it is now just a matter of time before I sign up for a course. My boyfriend (now fiance) says we should get PADI certified soon as I get settled-in with him in Singapore and you know what? I just might take him up on his offer very soon.